“We knew what was going on. People laughed at jokes that tomorrow will be a tragedy”
- George Voskovec
Weak as clockwork, vulnerable as the man who has dropped from the tree,
holding the fists up that they might appear strong
and the mouth shut that his spit may not flood out.
This the look of the laws of the place we come to create.
A wild and hungry vulnerability
that turns and bites when it is cornered,
and turns and craps when it is alone.
The inhabitants of this country
have discovered new selves to keep them warm
in the stolen hay.
The escaped tiger, the escaped elephant, the ape
that has escaped, huddling up between the walls of the escape
and the deep pounding of their hearts.
It is here I would have drowned in the mud,
but for the bubble of my breath waking me up.
Where, returning from a dinner party
I stand in my own hall, listening
before I turn the light on and peer around the wall.
A boy is standing in the corner.
No, he isn't – this is the escaped zoo, the liberated theatre:
You compose in the manner of a paddle
being utilised for fending.
Thinking aloud as if the words were a head being swung
from one member of the audience to the other
until the needle screams from the groove.
A wildness we acquire over long bus journeys.
A wildness we acquire towards the shelf
we have banged our heads on.
Leaping to rip from the wall the self that has been too drunk
too many times, and not witty enough:
The apartment leaped at from around a wall.
The wildness acquired by the voice
of the boy whose voice breaks in choral practice.
The wildness acquired in the quietness of the choir.
Wildness where you cannot stay, but you stay
and wildness fades. Wildness
acquired by the streets you know well,
relieved of their names. The dog nosing the wilderness,
the finger in the works.
Nathan and Doug Mercy have been swatting away at this typo-poetry collaboration for the last few weeks in preparation for an exciting new installation in Liverpool city centre as part of the Shops Up Front scheme in the city. The installation will be launched in June.